Continuing the Inclusion Process

Overwhelmingly, Effective Strategy Forum participants agreed that progressing education is a key to supporting all employees in the inclusion process. The following ideas and best practices were shared with fellow employers in attendance at the forums:

  • Visit the “I don’t know what I don’t know” conversation.  Most employers who embark on the journey towards an inclusive workforce do so with little to no knowledge and then learn as they go.  If you are unsure of exactly how to assist, work with, or communicate with a person with a disability -  ask them. Resources on disability etiquette are available but it is also just as easy to ask the individual for guidance on how it is easiest for both of you to work together

  • A person with a disability is not much different from you or me. Guests Speaker Steve Hanamura emphasized that, when possible, focus on the commonness between you and the individual.  If this commonness is not salient, create commonness and move forward.

  • You do not have to recreate the wheel. Consult with businesses that have been successful with employing persons with disabilities in the past.  Often, these businesses can tell you what and how they began the disability hiring conversation and what difficulties and challenges they overcame in order to become successful so that you do not have to go through these struggles.  

  • As with any employee, communication of needs and goals between employers and employees is important.  However, with employees with disabilities, it is important to be aware of communication barriers that exist because of stereotypes and fears.  These barriers hinder open honest communication and reduce trust in the organization.

  • Embrace the diversity that comes with hiring a person with a disability.  As a result of living with a disability, these individuals may look at the world with a different view point than those who do not have a disability.  Often, the fact that they have a different perception of their environment means that they may be able to provide your organization with fresh ideas and a leading edge that employees without disabilities could not.

  • All panellists agreed that employment of persons with disabilities has increased overall motivation and morale in their other employees.